Karuk Tribe's Water Pollution Control Program focuses on water
quality conditions within the mainstem Klamath River.
The Karuk Tribe has entered into cooperative agreements with
both the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
to monitorand assess water quality conditions in the Klamath
and its major tributaries.
The largest contributor of water pollution entering our ancestral
territory comes from the Klamath River itself.
This river once supported a very productive salmon fishery,
and provided a main food source and way of life for our people.
Now because of upriver actions such as the construction of dams,
inefficient water usage, diversions, and polluted runoff, many
of our salmon species and seasonal runs are in danger of becoming
The Klamath River can get as high as 80 degrees fahrenheit (25*C)
in the summer, when migrating adults and growing juveniles need
temperatures below 68 degrees (16.5*C) in order to survive and
Elevated temperatures and nutrient levels from agricultural
runoff cause massive amounts of algae and other plant life to
grow and flourish within the river.
This plant life decays at night using up oxygen that the salmon
need to survive, dipping dissolved oxygen levels down as low
as 2-4 mg/l.
Fish become stressed when DO levels fall below 5 mg/l. Prolonged
stress stops growth, increases susceptibility to disease and
eventually will cause death.
Our Tribe has documented and witnessed large fish kills, in
the thousands, within the Klamath River as the result of prolonged